How to Cope with Anxiety and Depression

The statistics on anxiety and depression in America are alarming, mainly because they are rising. A major depressive disorder affects more than 16 million people and is the most significant cause of disability for people between the ages of 15 and 44. Generalized anxiety disorder affects nearly 7 million Americans. All anxiety disorders combined affect 40 million people.

Anxiety and depression are often diagnosed as co-occurring disorders. Those who have depression have a high chance of acquiring anxiety too. It’s as if one disorder triggers the other. Unfortunately, out of the millions of people with symptoms of anxiety and depression, only a small percentage receive treatment.

Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression

Overlapping symptoms of anxiety and depression include “brain fog” or having difficulty concentrating and staying on task. Some have sleep disturbances that can range from difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep or both. Irritability and excessive fatigue are two more shared symptoms of anxiety and depression.

These aren’t the only symptoms that can be present, however. Each disorder has condition-specific symptoms.

Anxiety Disorder Symptoms

There are multiple anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety, panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety, separation anxiety, agoraphobia, and more. This large group of disorders means many symptoms can be present. The most recognizable symptoms are:

  • Being unable to control feelings of worry
  • Spending much of your time worrying or dreading upcoming events
  • Having panic attacks
  • Being intensely fearful of situations, objects, people, or places
  • Avoiding social activities
  • Feeling dread or fear when separated from someone

Anxiety can be debilitating, interfering with how someone functions personally, professionally, and socially. Anxiety is sometimes accompanied by depression, adding more overwhelming symptoms.

Depressive Disorder Symptoms

Depression exists in various conditions, including major depressive disorder, postpartum depression, seasonal affective disorder, bipolar disorder, and psychotic depression. Symptoms include

  • Moods that change from depression to mania
  • Social withdrawal
  • Changes in weight and appetite
  • Delusions and hallucinations
  • Extreme sadness
  • Feeling hopelessness, guilt, shame, or thoughts of death
  • Body aches and pains
  • Sluggishness and lethargy
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Isolation and withdrawal

Symptoms will vary for each person. Some may have one symptom, while others may have numerous. Many other people will never experience anxiety or depression disorders.

Who Gets Anxiety and Depression?

Children, adolescents, young adults, and adults of all ages can experience anxiety and depression. However, not everyone will. There are risk factors that make it more likely for someone to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Risk factors include genetics, having parents or other family members with anxiety, and depression. The genes associated with these conditions can be inherited, but that does not guarantee you will have symptoms. Genetics, combined with other risk factors, increase your risk.

For many, Serotonin and Norepinephrine chemicals in the brain are out of balance. Neurotransmitters like these are responsible for boosting mood. If they are low and the brain is not producing enough of them, you can experience anxiety and depression.

Misusing alcohol and drugs, underlying medical conditions, and the environment in which you were raised contribute to anxiety and depression. Also, traumatic events such as previous sexual, physical, or emotional abuse, war combat, surviving natural disasters, or suddenly losing a loved one.

How to Cope with Anxiety and Depression

Because anxiety and depression are so common, they have been researched the most and have multiple coping techniques proven to work.

Counseling with a Professional

You can learn many techniques to cope with symptoms of anxiety and depression from a licensed professional counselor. Sometimes just talking with a therapist can help you figure out the source of your symptoms and how to overcome them. Talk therapy, or cognitive behavioral therapy, is the most popular counseling method used today.

Interpersonal therapy, trauma-focused therapy, psychodynamic therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and motivational enhancement therapy are some of the ways a counselor can help you overcome anxiety and depression. You can also learn self-care and mindfulness techniques like relaxation, stress management, desensitization, and lifestyle changes.


At the beginning of treatment, you may consider antidepressants and antianxiety medications to help you get clear-minded and ready for learning in therapy. A psychiatrist can discuss the medication options with you and assess you for the right solution.

Alternative Therapies

Advancements in treating mental health give you more options. Research shows alternative therapies are beneficial in treating anxiety and depressive disorders, among many other conditions. Examples include yoga, acupuncture, massage, meditation, herbal remedies, and exercise.

Brain Stimulation

Brain stimulation involves activating the brain with electricity. Electroconvulsive therapy is a well-known example with positive results. Other treatments available are vagus nerve stimulation, repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, magnetic seizure therapy, and deep brain stimulation.

Light Therapy

Light therapy works to change your biological clock through sleep patterns, activating serotonin and alertness. Light therapy replaces the time you could have been spending in the sun, but you don’t have access to the sun when days are shorter.

Mindfulness and Self-Care

Mindfulness is being aware of what is going on in the present moment. You are aware of your senses, feelings, thoughts, and environment. Once you are aware, you can recognize what your body needs. You can then implement self-care techniques to meet your body’s needs. Alternative therapies are great ways to enhance mindfulness and self-care.

You can start mindfulness and self-care in therapy with a licensed counselor who can use mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction.

Ketamine for Treatment-Resistant Depression

Some people have severe depression and have tried multiple treatments, including different medication combinations, medication with therapy, and more, but nothing has helped. Ketamine therapy may be the answer to finally easing the problematic symptoms associated with mental illness.

You can start learning to cope with anxiety and depression today by calling the Mental Health Center. There you will have a team of treatment professionals working to ease your symptoms of anxiety and depression. Your team will include a psychiatrist, therapist, and support staff. You don’t have to spend more time coping with anxiety and depression alone. We can help.